Linking Jet Propellant Exposure & Neurocognitive Performance

Research Paper Title

JP8 exposure and neurocognitive performance among US Air Force personnel.


Petroleum-based fuels such as jet propellant (JP) 4, JP5, JP8, and jet A1 (JetA) are among the most common occupational chemical exposures encountered by military and civilian workforces. Although acute toxicity following high-level exposures to JP8 and similar chemical mixtures has been reported, the relationship between persistent low-level occupational exposures to jet fuels and both acute and longer-term central nervous system (CNS) function has been comparatively less well characterised.


This paper describes results of neurocognitive assessments acquired repeatedly across a work week study design (Friday to Friday) as part of the Occupational JP8 Exposure Neuroepidemiology Study (OJENES) involving U.S. Air Force (AF) personnel with varying levels of exposure to jet fuel (JP8). JP8 exposure levels were quantified using both personal air monitoring and urinary biomarkers of exposure. Neurocognitive performance was evaluated using an objective, standardised battery of tests.


No significant associations with neurocognitive performances were observed between individuals having regular contact and those with minimal/no direct contact with JP8 (measured by average work week levels of personal breathing zone exposure). Also, no significant findings were noted between repeated measures of absorbed dose (multi-day pre-shift urinary 1- and 2-naphthol) and reduced proficiency on neurocognitive tasks across the work week.


Results suggest that occupational exposure to lower (than regulated standards) levels of JP8 do not appear to be associated with acute, measurable differences or changes in neurocognitive performance.


Heaton, K.J., Maule, A.L., Smith, K.W., Rodrigues, E.G., McClean, M.D. & Proctor, S.P. (2017) JP8 exposure and neurocognitive performance among US Air Force personnel.


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